There are blogs with strong inclinations to discuss issues in Academic Life. As a matter of fact, Seeds Aside is reading a few. Sort of a think-about process and sometimes (more often than not) wise source of career advice.
Over there at Drugmonkey, there’s this post with a great discussion about PLOS1 and how one would define dump journals, and impact factors in your field (well, somewhat). Though interested in jumping in, but being in a position of considering most scientific journals are as good as they are (of course there’s variation in impact, therefore obsession with say impact factor), most probably because my fields of research are usually published in journals with a rather low IF, and also maybe because I’ve never been publishing in scientific glamourmagz (never tried), but certainly because maybe I don’t care that much or haven’t had results so strikingly rocking that there was no use even trying.
I made a comment that’s true; I want to publish in a specific journal because I should, and even if it is much of a third tiers journal it is just highly specialised, with limited scope and it is good altogether. I also noted that getting cites is just a way to process how your particular study is directly usefull to other scientists, and counting cites is just an objective way of estimating impact. But there are many other ways a study can have an impact, some of which are quite appreciable. For instance, a piece of work can find its use by teachers, or by students as a complement to class, or even and that’s good enough (to me), be that little piece of knowledge (piss off stuff?) about the universe that scientists are supposed to work out. Even if it doesn’t get cited, it is worth to share. Even if it is not the most crucial thing to know about the universe.
This is this part of my comment:
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that a study was completely useless or inappropriate if it doesn’t get cited. Sometimes it is cool or interesting to add pure knowledge nobody cares about.
I didn’t ever publish in a glamourmagz of any sort, I never published anything in low tiers, but that’s just a matter of time.
I got this answer from a first class science blogger:
Yeah, “cool” or “interesting” like beating off is “cool” or “interesting”. And the latter is a lot less expensive and time-consuming.
Thanks for the advice! Now that’s amazing that blogging improved my English so that I know more verbs for masturbation than I know in my own language (well, actually only when discounting other lyrical expressions). This is why I blog in English of course.
Thinking about this helpful act of kindness, I realised that in some other RL situations, some people get straight to the point and dismiss a conversation on the basis that it is just intellectual wanking. To the point I decided some day to never miss an occasion to speak up and point out that neither are to be blamed (both are legitimate in life). Well, (as a disclosure of interest,) I’m writing this because I’m well aware that my most successful blog post was purely sexy. So matters of sex are really attractive to readers (in case you disagree, please take time to comment). I clearly see this as an opportunity for self vanity. Therefore, I replied:
I’m not sure as to how I should understand your argument. I take it that beating off is sometimes cool and interesting, sometimes cooler and more interesting than alternatives (if I don’t specify, this is always true but I understand that some people do prefer nothing over enjoying self, and I’m inclusive of the whole humanity in my understanding of the issue at stake). There are many ways in which it indeed is, to simply put in (sic!), because it doesn’t necessarily imply a mere lone and loon quick dirty job cuming out of necessity (sic!) but untrivially be a preliminary or an inside transitional job in an epic trip to mutual satisfaction (sick!).
Just in case I overlooked that you were actually making the argument that beating off is uncool or uninteresting any time, or that data cuming out from uncited papers may not be of any interest, I’d then say there are ways to cope with it. Maybe just as in “jacking off all trades, mastering none” encourages you investigating the many aspects of coming that way instead of making your master art into a fucking routine.
Have a look to those many sides in the discipline, you’ll certainly enjoy some of the stuff (sic!), even those that don’t make stuff in (suck!). It may help you finding the light (silly!). There’s some freaking good macaroni science that stays unnoticed behind the dusty pile of studies past and pastry (yep, this is a full sexual argument, enjoy!).
Not to add that stuff stay uncited but end up making teaching freaking cooler, or help youngies finding their ways because beating off is still a major road taken, if not the only highway to science paradise, and that’s just good and totally fine.
But I still find myself wondering: is science currently only fair-game to fame-publishing, or is it too “ivory tower” to enjoy sharing knowledge to the community for the sake of it (just adding knowledge is fine)? What do you think? (Freak yes, share your opinion in here!).
PS: I should also add that my feeling about “dump” journals is more like they are damp journals. That is, journals that may be dismissed by some because of so lower rank, where any firework has lower chance to take of because of potential disdain. But wait, would Journal of Theoretical Biology not be considered as a dump journal? And wasn’t it in this journal that was published Hamilton’s theory of kin selection first? So if you want to dig up (second!) the huge gems go straight to the swamp!